13 June 2011

Wedding week, day one: before the big day

Guess what? This Sunday is a very, very special day. It’s Father’s Day! But it is even more special to Mr. P and me than that. It marks one year since we gathered all our friends and family in one place and, in front of all of them, promised to stick together forever! Weddings are already supposed to be once-in-a-lifetime events, but I’m going to extend the cliché and say that ours was once-in-a-lifetime in many ways. I’m not sure we’ll ever have all the people we love in one place like that again, or that we’ll ever have the chance to have that much fun surrounded by so much love, or that we’ll ever have a day quite as life-changing ever again. Of course, I won’t complain if we do. But if we don’t, that’s ok, because the one time was awesome.

To commemorate that super special, wonderful week, I’ve decided to write about it every day right here. I think most of my audience (all, like, three of you, one of which I married) were actually there, so I’m going to try to make it a little special for you too by showing never-before-seen photos. You're probably in them so it's not quite as boring!

I’ll start with some of the events in the days before our wedding, which was actually when the magic started. The wedding itself was amazing, don’t get me wrong. But when all our friends and family started arriving in our city? And gathering in my (now our) house? That’s when it started getting real. Like, I never doubted it would actually happen, but then there were all these people and they were here for us and holy moly here it comes.

Two nights before the big day, my darling bridesmaids organized a bachelorette party for me. You gotta understand, I am not into bars or dancing in public or suggestively shaped suckers. I am more of a drink-wine-on-my-couch kind of girl, and if I’m going to intake gobs of calories, I like ‘em best in solid form. And that’s exactly the sort of bachelorette party they organized. Which is probably why they are my best friends, eh? They first gathered all my lady friends and we went to The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant in the touristy downtown area.

Yeah, the waiter cut me out of the photo but that’s ok. It was dark and hard to take the photo, and anyway, I know I was there. Me and a couple hundred liquid calories. My wedding dress was a little loose so I was just doing what I could to fill it up.

I imagine most bachelorette parties that start at the Melting Pot next crawl the bars down 2nd Ave, but if I was going to get to be the boss then that is not really what I wanted to do. So we went to my house to hang out. My wonderful friends and sisters-in-law-to-be had arranged for more snacks and beverages there, like ring pops modeled here by Mr. P’s sisters and cousins:

I didn’t actually expect most of my Nashville girlfriends to come all the way out to my house to hang out, especially as it was a Thursday night and they were not princess diva brides that were skipping work the next day like someone was. But they did! It was just lovely. Lovely, lovely friends.

I know it's blurry but it's the one photo I have of everyone. And it's only blurry because it was so DARK and WILD and CRAZY and ok fine, my camera is really just too complicated for my mom.

Anyway, it was low-key and charming and delightful. The same could mostly be said for the following night, which was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Mr. P and I had a Nuptial Mass, which as those of you who aren’t Catholic but were once stuck at a Catholic wedding know, means it is LONG. And detailed. And there’s a bunch of moving around and remembering when to do what. So we had on our serious faces trying to take in everything our coordinator was saying.

I should mention now that the photo above, and pretty much all of them for the rest of the week, are from Ryan Sweeney Photography. If you are looking for a photographer that takes stunning photographs at a price that allows you to eat more than ramen noodles, he is your man. He was also very flexible and generous with his time for us. Our package came with a bridal portrait shoot, and I could think of about a million more things I would rather do than get all dressed up in my wedding dress again and feel foolish trying to pose and have nothing to show for it but a bunch of awkward photos of myself. So instead Ryan shot our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and instead of even more photos of me in my wedding dress, I have lots of photos of the beautiful, wonderful people in my life. And a couple of me being awkward too. But that’s unavoidable.

Anyway! Back to the rehearsal. Mr. P and I were still focused on understanding what we needed to do, but everyone else was starting to lighten up a bit. For instance our maid of honor and best man were buddying up.

Notice the ribbon bouquet made from the bows on all the gifts we received before the wedding. Remember the 100+ thank-you notes?

The very last thing we did was practice the processional, and by that time we’d all started to relax a bit. See, here’s Mr. P’s mom laughing. But she laughs all the time so that’s not really a gauge of the mood of the room, unless you consider that her cheerfulness probably lightens it.

My mom was escorted in by one of our friends. He’s from Switzerland and actually served time in the Swiss Army, which means he can explain to you the difference between “swiss army knives” and Swiss Army knives. At first he was quite formal because he saw it as a great honor to escort the mother of the bride, but he started to relax a bit too.

And here are my nephew and my dear friend/bridemaid’s oldest daughter with our wedding coordinator. Adorable, eh? The little girl is even pretending to hold her basket of flowers. This is the same coordinator who asked Mr. P and me if we had any “little people” in our wedding. She meant children but we thought she meant, you know, little people. The very vertically challenged. There was a long awkward silence where I didn’t answer because I was too busy trying to figure out why that even mattered. But yes. We had children in our wedding party and they were precious and did exactly what they were supposed to do despite being seven and four years old. Good listeners, those two.

After the rehearsal we went to the dinner, which was organized by Mr. P’s parents. You guys, it was so nice. Here I am soon after entering and truly realizing, for the first time, that all of Mr. P’s family, all my immediate family, all of our wedding party and their family, and even some of my family’s out-of-town friends were all there. And the room was candlelit with fresh flowers and cloth napkins and specially printed menus just for us. You guys! I may have actually clapped. Yes, I do that in real life.

Here’s just one side of one table (there were five). It was a lot of people – quite a large party for Mr. P’s family to throw. They were so, so generous. And Mr. P’s mom is even working the crowd in this photo, visiting with my bridesmaids and their families.

Mr. P’s father led us in a toast that was full of the clever dry wit he genetically passed on to his son and that I adore so much. Three words: audience participation rap. Even Mr. P’s extended family often think of his dad as being quiet and reserved (just like Mr. P) and so this was even more charming because of that.

I remember going home after the rehearsal dinner and posting on Facebook the simple status that I was “having so much fun”. It was all so wonderful and the actual wedding day hadn’t even started yet!

And once it did start, there was yet one more celebration before The BIG Celebration. My mom prepared a delightful brunch and hosted it at my house the morning of the wedding.

So many things to love about that photo. My mom made all that food herself, preparing much of it at her own house three hours away and carting it all the way to mine, but also staying up late the evening before (after the rehearsal) preparing even more. And the roses in the centerpiece? My stepdad grew them himself on his bazillion carefully-tended rose bushes and also transported them all the way to Nashville. They are talented people, eh? You just wait. In a few days you'll understand why I so hope DIY skills are genetic.

Also so many things not to love about that photo, which is most of the rest of my dining room. Mom did the best with what I gave her then, but I’m glad the room looks better now. I’ll show you sometime.

A few nights earlier at the bachelorette party, Mr. P’s sisters gave me a feathery pink light-up tiara. I classed up the brunch by donning it then. I mean really, how often do you get to wear a feathery pink light-up tiara? I only had a few hours left so I took advantage.

And so that’s how our wedding day started, at least for me: with my mom, stepsister, bridesmaids, and soon to be mother-in-law and sisters-in-law. And mimosas. Love them all.

As for Mr. P, I think he may have been conquering the last of the to-do list right about that time, like running to pick up the keg. Whew, I got the better deal there.

Lots more gratuitous reminiscing to come!


CalcDave said...

Hey! We played some disc golf and grilled out before the wedding (in addition to getting the keg).

Tina said...

Loving the memories! Other than the day you were born, it was the best!

Laura said...

Is it weird if I leave a comment? Because I love these rehearsal pictures. :)

Sarah said...

Not weird at all! I love comments ;) I am glad you are enjoying the rehearsal photos! There are so many good ones - hopefully someday I'll find a sneakily indulgent reason to share more of them!